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From the October 2013 Conservationist

A wildlife viewing platform looking out over a lake

Watchable Wildlife Site: The Wild Center

A premier watchable wildlife site

By John Razzano

A museum and environmental education center located in the heart of the Adirondacks in Tupper Lake-size: 31 acres
A premier watchable wildlife site

a brook trout underwater
brook trout (Photo: Eric Engbretson)

With hands-on indoor and outdoor nature exhibits, and hundreds of live animals (from big trout and salmon swimming in impressive floor-to-ceiling aquariums, to tiny turtles the size of walnuts), The Wild Center has fascinating discoveries that greet visitors at every turn. The center's beautiful mountain location, many cleverly designed displays, theater, state-of-the-art multi-media exhibits, and entertaining live critter programs ensure visitors will be delighted and inspired as they learn about Adirondack wildlife and their mountain environment.

In keeping with a place that celebrates nature, the center's buildings are innovatively designed to minimize their environmental footprint.

Wildlife to Watch

A river otter standing on its hind legs on a rock
river otter (Photo: Susan Shafer)

The most popular indoor attraction is the "Living River Trail" exhibit with its live northern river otters. You'll be enchanted watching these graceful aquatic mammals as they effortlessly glide around like underwater acrobats in their glass-enclosed river habitat. Staff regularly bring out these furry entertainers for a closer look, and their antics never fail to delight.

Porcupines, owls, ravens and timber rattlesnakes are some of the other extraordinary forest denizens that entertain visitors. The museum puts all of the Adirondack creatures and landscapes in context, with exhibits that take you from the mountain-grinding glaciers of the earth's great ice ages to the present.

Outside, learn how wildlife habitats are changing over time as you follow trails with exhibits on forest ecology. Or, observe the variety of forest birds and waterfowl that reside in or migrate through the Tupper Lake area. Be sure to check the seasonal schedule for great field and indoor programs too.

John Razzano is a contributing editor to Conservationist.

Photo: Susan Shafer